PRETORIA, South Africa, Sept. 10, 2012 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Crossroad Bible Institute is celebrating the second graduation ceremony hosted by its satellite campus in South Africa. The prison warden and four other high-ranking officials attended the ceremony of 32 graduates at Baviaanspoort Correctional Centre in Pretoria.
Photo: CBI Director, Student Bruce S. (holding CBI certificate), Prison Warden
Campus Director Alwyn Bezuidenhout remarked, "The head warden personally thanked CBI for making a difference in the lives of inmates. He asked to convey the gratitude of Correctional Services to the CBI head office in the United States." Because of prison officials' support, the program has expanded from one to three facilities over the last year.
"The discipleship courses provided by CBI powerfully impact inmates' lives," said CBI President Dr. H. David Schuringa. "And we are thrilled these prison officials recognize that."
CBI South Africa has been reaching inmates in South African prisons since 2011 and now boasts 120 active registered students in Pretoria. Their studies are corrected by volunteers from four different denominations so far, including the Reformed Churches of South Africa, the Free Reformed Churches, the Afrikaans Protestant Church and Reformed Baptists.
Bezuidenhout directs the program, oversees volunteers and spearheads expansion efforts. Furthermore, because of the country's unreliable mail system, he personally visits prisons to deliver lessons by hand. While there, he presents a devotional message, answers questions and offers encouragement. Bezuidenhout is joyful about the program's success: "Looking back over this year, we can indeed cry out with the psalmist, 'The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!'"
"We are seeing CBI South Africa gain an increasing presence and impact on the prison system in that country," CBI International Programs Coordinator Cynthia Williams explained. She also commended the support of South African churches and the prison officials' respect for the program.
CBI is a nonprofit prison ministry with over 42,000 students studying through satellite campuses on six continents. The program is provided at no cost to prisoners and their families.